A TV fan who changed his name to Jack Bauer has been jailed for a knife attack which made a terrified taxi driver think he was about to die.
The 27-year-old - formerly called Carl Ennis - got into a taxi wearing a balaclava, police-style vest, long-sleeved black shirt and grey trousers, and told the driver he was on his way to a fancy dress party.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard Bauer, of Marshall Wallis Road, South Shields, who had drank around 16 pints earlier that night, produced a knife during the journey, which he used to slash cabbie David Pearson’s neck.
Mr Pearson has vowed to end his career as a cabbie because of the terror he experienced that night.
Before he had left the house, Bauer - who said he changed his name to “start afresh” - asked his girlfriend: “Will you still love me if I hurt someone and got arrested?”.
Judge John Milford QC jailed Bauer, who now shares his name with the hardman star of American hit series 24, for 16 months.
The judge said it was an “extraordinary and very worrying” offence.
Judge Milford told Bauer: “You went out intending to cause harm to another and you did.
“This is a troubling offence. You can give no explanation for why you behaved as you did.
“No doubt this frightening experience will live with him for a very long time.”
The court heard Mr Pearson had picked up Bauer from his South Shields home and was driving towards Newcastle, where Bauer claimed the late-night fancy dress party was taking place.
It was when the cab was driving along the Felling bypass that Bauer, who was sitting in the back, decided it was time to strike.
Prosecutor Paul Rowland said: “Mr Pearson felt something sharp on his right-hand side of his neck.
“The vehicle was still in motion at that time.
“Mr Pearson describes pulling his body away from the sharp feeling and at the same time grabbing the defendant’s arm, which had come over his shoulder.
“As he pulled the defendant’s arm forward he saw the defendant had in his hand a dark-handled knife, with a blade about 4in or 5in long.”
The court heard Bauer ran off after the cab was brought to a stop, and Mr Pearson was able to go for help.
He needed to have a superficial 3in cut to his neck treated at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Mr Pearson told police: “I felt totally petrified.
“I genuinely felt if I hadn’t moved away he would have killed me.
“I can no longer continue my career as a a taxi driver. This has totally terrified me.”
Joe Hedworth, defending, said Bauer, who has no previous convictions, has no memory of what he did that night, but he pleaded guilty to assault and threatening with an offensive weapon.
Mr Hedworth said: “He asks me to convey his sincere apologies to Mr Pearson for the undoubted shock, pain and discomfort he was caused as a result of his bizarre behaviour in the early hours of November 3 last year.
“Since that time he has repeatedly attempted to recall the events and has failed so to do.”
Mr Hedworth said Bauer left school with good qualifications and the loss of his good reputation will blight his future employment prospects.
He said Bauer took up his new name after a series of personal problems and bereavements when he wanted to “start afresh”.